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Random thoughts: computers, Internet, security and privacy

  1. Mar 27, 2016 #1
    I create this thread to continue discussion with @jim hardy and @WWGD started elsewhere https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...ources-of-politics.827409/page-4#post-5422569
    Any topic concerning computers and internet can be discussed here

    I don't know, but can Cuil stop google analytics from being there? They go to many pages which don't have anything to do with google.
    I wonder if you still get the loading page and whether you can search other topics on cuil.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2016 #2

    jim hardy

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    I typed physicsforums into cuil and got the same result. Same when i typed in CUIL ...

    My machine and Cuil - ?
    "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

    If Google wants to waste time exploring my dull life - let them have fun ! I'm a real bore. Places like BoneyardBoats.com interest me....
    Someplace i downloaded NSA's sensitive words list and i occasionally search on some of them for fun... (guess i was imprinted by "Cool Hand Luke" ,too.)
    Maybe that's why google sends me to so many fringey sites.

    Son loaded Ghostery and Adblock on my machine. What a difference that made ! Some sites wont let you in but you can whitelist who you want, like PF.

    old jim
  4. Mar 27, 2016 #3
    The fact that it won't let you search anything is so weird. especially when two other people from the US got the answers. maybe you have been labelled as a potential terrorist because of your fun hobby (sensitive words) and now you can only use the sites that can track you :) Just wait, one day you can expect a visit from some nice gentlemen in black. Just kidding.:wink:
    I really don't know what can be the cause. perhaps someone can explain that.
    I used to use ghostery, NoScript, TrackmeNot and bunch of others but I found it too restrictive. However it's great to use them. The amount of tracking is incredible. Seeing ghostery list of trackers can be an eye-opener! It's just that I was too lazy to constantly allow new pages and sometimes I like to have my searches personalised and forms filled out for me. Now I am happy with the combination of Linux for security and AdBlock plus. It is the right balance between security and usability for me.
  5. Mar 27, 2016 #4

    jim hardy

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    They'll have to pry my D2O and Palladium from my cold dead fingers ! :smile:

    Oh , Linux ! You are my hero !
    I want to get Linux but i soooo fear the frustration , failure and rage. I've been known to smash computers.
    How did you do it? Ubuntu ?
  6. Mar 27, 2016 #5
    At first it can be a bit difficult because it works on different principle than Windows. But today many distros work almost straight of the box such as Linux Mint which I highly recommend https://linuxmint.com/ I used to have ubuntu but personally don't like their Unity plus they have gone a bit commercial recently.
    Anyway, I am absolutely poor at everything concerning computers and I had no previous experience of anything more advanced than internet browsing and Office work before I tried Linux. And you see, I did it! For any problem you can find a solution online and there is a great support forum https://forums.linuxmint.com/ full of kind people who will give you step-by step solution for any problem you run into. I was able to solve all problems by copy-pasting from the internet.
    And what's great is that you can run both windows and linux (dual boot) on the same machine so that you don't have to delete all your files and jump into unknown straight away. And you can even play with live linux without installing anything!
    I don't want to sound like a Linux preacher here. Obviously, there are pros and cons to each OS. It's important to say that many games and some professional programs run only on Windows.
  7. Mar 27, 2016 #6
    The Google AJAX Search needs not to be blocked for that page to work.

    When Google begins to give me biased results, I change temporarily to get what I'm really looking for. If it is about search engines you can try reading these: (They will return results not based on your searching patterns or anything that has to do with you.)
    I still use Google, but when I notice the results are biased, I use something else. To me it's not mainly because of privacy, it's because I don't want biased results. (Although that last sentence doesn't mean I don't care about my privacy, I do care about it.)
    I have no idea what are those.
    The problem I find with most popular linux distribution like Ubuntu, Kubuntu is that they always introduce the last cutting edge technology that is always full of bugs and non-working (too many broken things). I was incredibly happy with my Kubuntu 14.04, but suddenly I could not download packages anymore because it said the sources could not be found so I upgraded. Fatal Error. The new KDE is so full of bugs and I couldn't even launch a terminal.

    Cutting edge distros always have something that breaks and makes your life impossible.

    First I abandoned Ubuntu because of Unity full of bugs and moved to Kubuntu (I still tried Ubuntu later when Unity was more stable, but I still didn't like it). Then I recently abandoned Kubuntu because the new KDE is so full of bugs (I may try it again when it is more stable). Now I'm looking for something else that is stable.
  8. Mar 27, 2016 #7

    jim hardy

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    Ingredients for cold fusion - remember Pons&Fleischman ?

    Thanks for the links and observations on Linux.
    I see hackers are starting to work on it, too, Linuxmint reports incidents around Feb 20th.

    well ! Turning off Ghostery made the CUIL site work.
  9. Mar 27, 2016 #8
    Still no idea. I don't know what cold fusion is nor Pons&Fleischman. o0)
    I always check for checksums to make sure I have the correct image. But if the website is breached they can put a fake checksum or one corresponding to the infected image like in the incident you mention.

    I think Ubuntu has a better way than simple checksums placed in a website which involve the use of GnuPG.
  10. Mar 27, 2016 #9
    yes, what a shame! I've discovered that just today. Fortunately it had no effect on machines already running Mint. This shows that nothing is 100% safe. :confused:
  11. Mar 27, 2016 #10

    jim hardy

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    Sorry -

    In the 1980's two scientists Poms and Fleischmann claimed they caused fusion at room temperature by saturating palladium metal with heavy-hydrogen , Deuterium...
    They set up an electrolysis cell using heavy water and a palladium electrode. They claimed it went pyrotechnic.
    They were pretty thoroughly discredited - but the appeal of bathtub fusion created a stir in the hobbyist community.
    A friend said to me "I'll get some palladium if you'll get some heavy water" so we did.
    That's about as far as we got. My little jug of heavy water(D2O) is now just another interesting curio.


    1984 seems like only yesterday. Guess i'm getting old - but it's still fun.

    No hijack intended.

    Back to topic

    I know what a checksum is from my days with punched paper tape medium and Teletypes.
    but have no idea where to find one

    one bit per hole, one byte per row

    and my IT vocabulary is meager. Acronyms like GnuPG just bewilder me.
    I need a plug&play approach.
  12. Mar 27, 2016 #11
    Oh I see.

    I just googled what is Teletype and read about them. They look like a printer :woot:.

    I think checksum in your case, according to what I read of Teletype, was for error detection. In my case I used the word as a mean of integrity check. :smile: But according to this:
    I can see it matters not much whether I check the integrity of a file if in the end I cannot verify its authenticity and something like in the incident of Mint happens. The GnuPG method the Ubuntu Community uses adds a few extra steps that can help convince someone of a file's authenticity. But I suppose in the end it boils down on whether you trust the source or not because even those signatures need to be downloaded from somewhere.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  13. Apr 4, 2016 #12
    What's the point of having to agree with cookies on almost every site? You can't disable them anyway unless you use an addon.
    The disclaimer is just big enough to annoy you, especially on phone.
    Stupid Brussels.
  14. Apr 4, 2016 #13
    There is a law in UK and EU that says that they have to inform the user in a clear comprehensive way about the use of cookies. However, the law also says the user has to be given the option to refuse the use of cookies in his/her equipment. Which most websites don't do. They just put an interactive banner that follows you everywhere on the webpage, is annoying, and there is not a 'I do not accept', 'Disagree', or 'No' button in the banner. Because it is annoying the users simply click 'Ok' or 'I accept' just to get rid of the obtrusive banner.


    If you read the source at the Confidentiality of Communications section, you will find what I'm talking about.

    If they do not provide a do not accept button for the user, and the law says that they first have to get consent, I suppose that if you do not accept they cannot put anything on your machine without of course breaking the law. But yeah, the thing is annoying and follows you everywhere so must users just click accept.
  15. Apr 5, 2016 #14
    Sometimes they say something like if you continue browsing on this site you agree with the cookies. So they technically don't even need you to click on OK as your consent is automatical.
  16. Apr 5, 2016 #15

    Jonathan Scott

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    The complication is that if you don't accept cookies, and it's not a site where you log in, then the site has no way to remember that you don't want cookies unless it uses a cookie!
  17. Apr 5, 2016 #16
    Lol that's funny :-)
  18. Apr 5, 2016 #17

    jim hardy

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    I've given up. I usually accept cookies.
    Windows itself i consider a virus. It keeps installing updates until it won't run anymore.
    Information Technology is the "Tower of Babel " myth coming true. Look at the plethora of software out there and tell me our tongues aren't confused...
  19. Apr 5, 2016 #18


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    Hmm . . . there isn't a thing I do that does not require cookies. Not a thing :rolleyes:
    The reason for this is that they want to see what type of people are using their sites. How do you think @Greg Bernhardt know that 65% of users here use Chrome? :wink:
  20. Apr 5, 2016 #19
    You don't need cookies for that information :)
  21. Apr 5, 2016 #20


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    Then why does my old blog require cookies for all the analytic stuff? :frown:
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